Monday, March 10, 2008

Experiencing Global Warming in Cape Town

I just watched the last half of a TV program on global warming this evening. Mention was made how animals are breeding out of season and therefore not synchronously with their food supply.

At home, in Cape Town, we were feeding the birds brown bread and apples in addition to the normal birdseed. The reason for us doing this was that so many of the trees in our road became too big and people were chopping them down. Another reason was that someone, in the area, decided to supplement his income by buying a chain saw and offered to chop people’s trees down for them. To compound this problem, the government decided to remove all the alien vegetation. Nearly all the trees planted in Cape Town over the last three hundred years, can be considered as alien. In fact since a large part of the city has been reclaimed from the sea, all the trees in that part can be considered alien.

When I was a child we did not have to spray our trees for fruit fly. Today if one does not spray a layer of poison over our fruit trees, we will not have any to pick.

Cockroaches were unheard of in Cape Town, but over the last few years they are becoming regular visitors in our homes. This year is the first year that I noticed small ones. That means that weather conditions are warm enough for them to breed in Cape homes.

I never heard of water pollution. I never considered algae as a problem. I used to think of it as fish food. A few years ago we filled our fishpond because the water became poisoned. The fish died and recovered when we changed the water. We needed to replenish the fishpond water more and more often until we decided to fill the pond with sand.

Last year tons of fish died at Rietvlei, Cape because of water pollution and algae growth. The warming of the ground around the dams due to the removal of all the trees may also have something to do with it. The birds that used to breed there had to move to domestic gardens and other unsafe breeding places.

We are replacing more and more nature areas with urban development.

Wild animals clash with townships that spring up on the borders of game parks. It is always the animals that have to go.

We have seen so many more deadly diseases among animals and people in the last years. In fact since about 1985 the number of deadly diseases affecting humanity has escalated at an alarming rate. That is in the last 12 years.

I can talk about this forever. We have other problems that feed global warming in Africa. Poverty, job shortages, wars and political instability are just a few.

Are we in a global crisis situation in Africa?

The only ones, who answer no to that question, are illiterates and skeptics who are too young to have experienced global change.

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